Local News

Chatham County Leaders Consider Growth Moratorium

Posted May 22, 2007
Updated May 23, 2007

— Chatham County Commissioners said they've had to raise taxes one too many times, and now they're considering a plan to control growth.

About 15,000 homes are coming online in the county, and from water and sewer lines to roads and schools, its feeling the squeeze.

“Chatham County needs to catch its breath, so to speak,” said resident Barbara Ford.

Commissioners have considered a temporary halt on growth -- a moratorium that would limit new subdivisions to 25 homes each for the next year. Commissioner Mike Cross said it’s the responsible thing to do.

“The growth is coming we want to try to develop smartly,” Cross said.

There are two competing thoughts at play in growing counties like Chatham, which considered the alternatives at a meeting Tuesday night. Some residents said they feel that increasing the tax base can keep property taxes down, while others say growing drives them up.

At the public hearing Tuesday, residents voiced what they don't want to become.

“Wake County has seen massive development in the last decade,” said resident Mary Lucas. “They have a school system in disarray.”

“I moved here from Cary to get out of the madness,” said resident Kathleen Hundley.

Wake County leaders are considering their own options in controlling the costs of growth. Lawmakers are considering bills to allow Wake County voters to increase the sales tax or apply a fee for selling a home.

Those with ties to home builders say the growth-control ideas are bad for the business that fuels the local economy.

“The moratorium will hurt economic development,” said Frank Thomas with the Orange, Durham and Chatham Home Builders Association.

“To say ‘No more, stop,’ it sends a message to the rest of the region, ‘We're closed for business, you're not welcome,’” said Chris Sinclair with the Triangle Community Coalition.

Opponents of the Chatham County moratorium said communities can work with developers to set aside land for roads, parks and schools. A new piece of legislation even allows developers to build schools and lease them. Wake County has a pilot project with that idea in the works.

No decisions were made at Tuesday’s meeting in Chatham County. County Commissioners will draft an ordinance and take it up at a future meeting.


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  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 23, 2007

    I'm amazed that most of you think that YOUR life will continue to improve, as long as NOBODY else moves to the area. It's SIMPLE economics....if our area isn't growing, it'll be dying...many lost jobs, that cause many other lost jobs, and so on........Do you want to live in a growing community that provides opportunity? or do you want to worry about how you're going to pay your next house payment? it's fairly simple!

  • Mulberry May 23, 2007

    I don't have issues with growth and development except that so much of it that I have seen around here seems not to have been very well-planned or thought-out, and areas get hit with a scad of new residents that they're not prepared to support. Seems like the impact of new growth is consistently underestimated. The communities get stuck playing catch-up on expanding infrastructure, and somehow it often seems to be more expensive than anyone was expecting (and more than what the extra revenue will cover). Residents get stuck dealing with all the headaches while the developers (and often community leaders) have moved on.

    If you think developers aren't heavily involved in politics, get your head out of the sand. It's part of the job for them (they're in this to make money, nothing wrong with that). It's up to the government and community leaders to ensure that the growth's done right.

    All just IMHO, of course, and I am far from an

  • Doctor Dataclerk May 23, 2007


    You are exactly correct. When the lady from Cary said “I moved here from Cary to get out of the madness”, I thought, what hypocracy. In other words, I should be able to move to Chatham County, but it would be bad if anyone else is allowed to do the same. You are also right about the ISP mine, what has the 3M operation hurt in Chatham County? It pays huge property taxes and provides stable jobs. Leave it to the Cary/Chapel Hill crowd to move in and try to close the gates to anything and every one.

  • 2late May 23, 2007

    RE:"I am SICK of those who move here (and develop when they do) then deciding that they were enough development so we don't need anymore"...Amen...laughable for newcomers to decide when is enough...and it seems the only ones with their face in a microphone are the refugees from Wake and Orange County...did they ever think that when land prices shoot up from less than $1,000 per acre to over $20-25,000 per acre, that some Chatham county residents could care less about rural character

  • LaLa-Land May 23, 2007

    Good for them!!!!

  • srjbdl May 23, 2007

    No, what's a shame is that people who moved in to Chatham County from Cary/Raleigh/Chapel Hill think that they now have the right to dictate what others can do with their land. This isn't about developers - it's about the newcomers trying to control what everyone else does. As a long time Chatham County resident, I am SICK of those who move here (and develop when they do) then deciding that they were enough development so we don't need anymore. It doesn't seem to matter if it is residential or commercial - these newcomers want to "preserve the rural nature of the county."

    Chatham County would be better off if the "newcomers" were to do one of two things - leave things alone, or barring that, go back to Cary or Chapel Hill where people appreciate the government dictating everything for them.

    BTW, the same people who try to prevent residential development file lawsuits when industry tries to come as well. The ISP mine would have been a great source of jobs...

  • erggggg May 23, 2007

    i know THIS is implausible but i wish wake county would do this....

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc May 23, 2007

    hey mvnull, we don't agree most of the time but on this I am in total agreement with you... It's a real shame isn't it? The same thing that caused the old Seagrove's farm in Apex to become a townhouse development instead of a park like the Apex planning committee recomended. It was over-ruled by the town council. Rumor has it that the developer has close ties to someone (I will leave unnamed) in power in Apex.

    It goes all the way up to the federal level with corporations and lawyers controlling congress and the whitehouse.

  • mvnull May 22, 2007

    Good start. It'll never happen. The developers have too much money (power).